The question seemed to catch Kelechi Osemele by surprise.
Back at his locker, Osemele had a microphone thrust in his face and was asked: "What makes this rookie class so special, with a lot of guys playing key roles?"
- Lots of progress for Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe
- Mom's gumbo calling Jacoby Jones home to New Orleans
- Pierce draws praise from Lewis, Newsome
- Ravens' road to the Super Bowl
- Ravens 29, Minnesota Vikings 26 [Pictures]
- Mike Preston grades the Ravens' 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings
See more photos »
He thought for a moment and smiled.
"This group is really hungry ... guys who wanted to come in here and make an impact, make a difference and make a name for themselves," he said of a group that also includes kicker Justin Tucker, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and running back Bernard Pierce. "We just kind of all came with the mindset that we were here to stay and we were going to come in here and, if need be, take somebody's job to make it a better football team.
"Guys who came out with that kind of mindset flourished and they stayed — and guys who didn't got cut," he continued. "That's the name of the game."
"They're kind of veterans now, so we count on them to play like that," the Ravens coach said. "K.O. comes to mind, obviously, and Courtney and right on down the line. Guys have done a great job."
Osemele, the Ravens' second pick in the second round out of Iowa State, started all 16 regular-season games at right tackle. Although he had worked at both guard positions in training camp, Osemele was switched to tackle when veteran Bryant McKinnie came in late to camp and proved to be overweight and out of shape.
McKinnie was perceived to have landed in Harbaugh's doghouse. But when he finally started practicing better and reclaimed his starting left tackle spot for the playoffs, Michael Oher was moved to right tackle and Osemele moved back to left guard.
That move seemed to solidify the offensive line. The Ravens' passing attack has flourished, and quarterback Joe Flacco has been under far less pressure from opposing pass rushers, having been sacked only four times in three playoff games.
"I would describe it as a very smart move," Osemele said. "They just wanted the five best players out there. They felt that I'd make a better pass blocker out there at guard [for] going into the playoffs, where passing is key and being able to put points on the board is very important."
Tucker, signed as a free agent after going undrafted out of Texas, is having a rookie season for the ages. He accounted for 132 points and made 30 of 33 field goal attempts (90.9 percent), the second-best mark in Ravens single-season history. It was also the second-best percentage by a rookie kicker in NFL history.
Touted by Harbaugh as a "natural" in training camp after he beat out veteran Billy Cundiff, Tucker impressed his teammates all season with his nerve and powerful foot.
Two weeks ago, in front of a howling crowd on chewed-up Sports Authority Field in Denver, he kicked his third game-winning field goal, a 47-yarder in double-overtime in the Ravens' thrilling 38-35 divisional-round victory over the Broncos.
"I feel as though we've been forged in the fire this whole season," Tucker said. "I mean, we've faced adverse situations. I've been fortunate that the three misses I've had haven't had any significant bearing on the outcome of the game — or the season for that matter.
"I've learned from my failures," he added. "That's something that's always impressed upon us here, that we're going to face adverse situations, we're going to be in tough games. And it really comes back to doing your job and trusting what you know."
Pierce, the Ravens' third-round pick out of Temple, has proved to be a formidable backup to Ray Rice.
Pierce rushed for 532 yards on 108 carries (4.9 average), and the Ravens like the way his straight-ahead, bruising style of running contrasts with the shifty, more elusive Rice.
"I don't shy away" from contact, said Pierce, who has blossomed for the Ravens down the stretch.